# 459: BOOK OF THE WEEK — “the untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself”

Singer, Michael A. (2007). the untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself

Story behind the Book Choice

How do you “explain” spirituality to people who are not spiritual? The answer is simple: You do not even try. It is the same thing with everything other people are not interested in. You cannot put into words what needs to be experienced. And you should never try to “convert” people or convince them of something they do not want to experience. That will enforce resistance. That is a life lesson that took me quite some time to learn. But you can definitely live your life the way you want to live it. And if you find treasures along the way and these treasures make you shine — other people will notice and then they start wondering how you ended up this way. And that is when you will convey the message of something without ever having to say a word or explaining anything.

With the speedy advancement in my own process, I somehow stumbled over this book a few weeks ago. I had to take it on my trip to Portugal, there was no way I would not. Still, I did not manage to read a lot throughout the stay because my mind was pouring out so many revelations that reading was simply impossible. Towards the very end, when my mind had calmed down to a level where I could somehow control the revelations to come one by one, I remembered I still had this book in my backpack (together with so many others that I did not manage to read). In any case, I had to read this one and I finished it on the flight back. It was the “perfect” closing of this journey that was much more than a trip.

I had never read anything by Michael Singer before. And after reading the book, I cannot really say much about him. Apparently, if you follow Wikipedia, he is not one of the “classical” spiritual gurus. He seems to be a software guy, among other things. There is nothing weird about that. I just had a really inspiring conversation with an IT friend of mine a few weeks ago who also revealed that he “believed in some forces” outside our normal field of vision. And it is not even important to know much about Singer. When you read his words, you will be able to see clearly what so many other enlightened people have written in the millennia before. That does not minimize his contribution. The most remarkable thing about his book is the clarity of language and the simplicity of the examples. If there is someone who wants to get into spirituality and who is just taking the first steps to learning about a way of seeing the world and the self through a completely new lens — this book is what you need.

  1. I am
Singer 23

This question of “who am I” might seem like the simplest thing ever. And the answer is no secret; it is universal. It is: “I am.” That is the famous answer that Ramana Maharshi stands for most prominently. But readers of the Bible know that this is also the central issue in John. All this might seem very crazy to people who answer the question with words like: “I am an engineer… I am Liz, I am 42 years old… I am a father and son of an American…” All these answers have NOTHING to do with the real stuff. And the real stuff is what will drive you crazy until you reach that state of “enlightenment,” of complete awareness. In that state, you will answer the question by uttering the words “I am.” And there is nothing else to say. There is not even a single thing you want in the world anymore. You are totally happy sitting in some corner and simply being.

The problem is, of course, readers who at least got glimpses of this state of being and seeing will easily be able to follow Singer in this central chapter and all the other ones that follow. The question remains if other readers will be able to “buy” this. I have no idea. I can just say that this question is the most beautiful one to consider in your life. Now I am sounding as if I wanted to convince you of that. Probably I am — I am not Jesus or Buddha, I am a human being who has come a long way. And for people who do not like Buddha or Jesus, you can still read the book. Singer always gives examples from “all” holy scriptures of different faiths. That alone will help you gain a more holistic understanding of the world of spirituality, especially if you have been brought up more or less with monotheistic dogma in some church. Mysticism and the spirituality that Singer is dealing with knows no dogma or institutions.

2. Energy

Singer 44

Do you know people in your private circles or at work who always seem to be “filled with energy” and you even use this description “energy-laden” when talking about them? If you do, you are describing an essential part of spirituality without even being aware of it. We consist of energy — we are energy on two feet. And by acknowledging this energy in other people, you testify to this physical and spiritual fact. The weird thing about it is that there are far less people who are known to have so much energy. That is weird and counter-logical, right? We are all people of flesh and blood and built of the same “material.” How can it be that some of us have more energy than others?

The answer is very easy: We all have that energy that the faithful ones call “godly.” But many of us block it because they, as beings, are blocked in many ways. This is when talk about chakras becomes really helpful. Again, people who freak out about Buddhism and all “esoteric” things will probably put the book and my discussion here away at this point. For all the others, you can learn about how to unchain your energy by first of all understanding the different energy centers in your body. Again, as with any “spiritual” content or action, it takes practice. It is a tricky process of internalizing knowledge in your brain and body until it really clicks. And that will only come by also engaging in physical practices of some sort (e.g., yoga, meditation, tantra…).

Once more, pause for a second if all this sounds like total bullshit to you. Just remember when you fell in love with someone at some point. Remember moments when you got mad at your boss or your kids and you even yelled at them. Remember the times when you got upset in the car because someone cut you off. See, the feeling that your body is just recalling while your brain is going through these mental movies — these emotions are energy. And there is no way that you can say that there is nothing ever going on in your body. And observing this and just being attentive to and aware of it is already a huge part of what spirituality is all about. See, it is not even that “esoteric” to get into this, is it?

3. Love

Singer 181

Well, this is the last page of the book. There could not be a “better” one, even though such a judgement is bullshit. Still, many great books have last pages that are really not telling you much. In Singer’s case, he wraps up the entire essence of the book in this short passage. On the page before, he compares God’s love to the sun — you cannot escape it, it comes out every day, you can try to hide and run away and ignore it but it is there — it just is. This is how God’s love works. You do not have to do anything in order to get or even deserve it. You just have the opportunity to look for it and see it. But even if you decide to not do that, it will remain there for you.

I know that for many “believers” in the traditional church sense, they might agree with the “God’s eternal love” thesis. But in truth, they do think you have to do something to not be punished by God and they do think that whatever bad happens in their lives goes back to a judgmental and in some ways revengeful God. Otherwise, they could not explain why they go to church every Sunday and pray all the time and are “good Christians.” Well, that is what religion in the West has done. It is based on dogma and words and fixed rituals and, above all, rationality. You can throw all that over board if you get on the truly spiritual journey to seek God in one place only, and I mean one place only: Within yourself. That is where all the love will unfold and then there is no return…

Reflection Questions

1) How do you answer the question “who are you”?

2) Do you believe in the theories about human energy exchange and chakras? Why/not?

3) Do you have any image of “God”? If yes, what does it connote — is it a judgmental, kind, loving, punishing… God?

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